The International Code Council released a new framework to assist governments and building industry stakeholders in meeting energy efficiency and greenhouse gas reduction goals.
The Code Council Board of Directors, which consists of 18 government code officials who were elected by their peers, adopted the framework, Leading the Way to Energy Efficiency: A Path Forward on Energy and Sustainability to Confront a Changing Climate. This framework includes using the Code Council’s American National Standards Institute approved standards process to update the International Energy Conservation Code.
Future editions of the IECC will build on prior successes, including an increase of efficiency requirements by about 40 percent, or an average of 8 percent a cycle from 2006 to 2021. With the base 2021 IECC efficiency requirements just 10 percent away from net zero for residential buildings, under the new framework future editions of the IECC will increase base efficiency using a balancing test proposed in bipartisan legislation that has cleared the U.S. House and Senate and has been supported by energy efficiency advocates and the building industry.
The IECC will be developed under a revised scope and be part of a portfolio of greenhouse gas reduction solutions that could address electric vehicles, electrification and decarbonization, integration of renewable energy and energy storage, existing buildings performance standards and more. The Code Council’s new framework will also provide optional requirements aimed at achieving net zero energy buildings presently and by 2030. Using a tiered approach, the framework offers adopting jurisdictions a menu of options, from a set of minimum requirements to pathways to net zero energy and additional greenhouse gas reduction policies.
“Thank you to our members and stakeholders for their feedback throughout this process,” says Greg Wheeler, CBO, president of the Code Council. “After careful consideration of all the input, the Board of Directors has approved this coordinated, comprehensive strategy to support the needs of our communities, building on the Code Council’s strong foundation of technical solutions provided by the IECC, International Residential Code and International Green Construction Code.”
“The Code Council is committed to furthering the progress the IECC has made to date and ensuring our energy code continues to meet the needs of governments around the world to advance their energy efficiency goals,” says Dominic Sims, CBO, CEO of the Code Council. “We have heard clearly feedback from the building safety community asking us to strengthen the IECC and create new resources to help communities address their climate goals. We will rise to that challenge.”
Chuck Fowke, NAHB chairman, released the following statement in response to the news: "This is an important change that we expect to result in a model energy code that meets the needs of consumers, builders, building officials and energy efficiency advocates. At this point we are reviewing the details of the proposed framework, but it appears to provide a clear improvement for the energy code development process going forward. NAHB looks forward to participating in the new standards development process to maximize cost-effective efficiency improvements in the residential energy codes."
The Code Council has also announced the establishment of an Energy and Carbon Advisory Council, which will consist of governmental and industry leaders to inform the Code Council’s efforts. The council will advise on which additional greenhouse gas reduction policies the IECC should integrate, the pace that the IECC’s baseline efficiency requirements should advance, plus needs and gaps that the Code Council should work to address. The Code Council will begin outreach to fill the Energy and Carbon Advisory Council in March.
A call for applications for the IECC Development Committees will take place in March. The committees will represent diversity across nine interest categories and assure representation from a diversity of jurisdictions, experiences in building types and energy efficiency strategies, and geographies.
“Government officials will have the strongest voice on the committee, and the consensus process requires one third of the seats to be government regulators,” says Wheeler. Committee membership will be determined through an open nominations process with no seats reserved for organizations.